Point of Origin
A long, long, long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away ...
Floatspace, the intergalactic ocean. Electromagnetic waves lap at subatomic beachheads; flashing images write themselves and appear effortlessly. We traveled together, (((***))) and I; I called him Kafka.
Floatspace, the timeless expanse. No relativity, only speed; speed but no velocity; no direction, no intention, simply waiting. I ride the waves, they come to me; they ride me. I am stationary in Floatspace.
Floatspace horizon, a gleaming fast forward. It was twilight at Floatspace City, a non-dimensional location, an entity-less consciousness, a matrix arcology.
Motion was amplified, coordinates dispersed, the images returned – Kafka was truly dead, the biorhythm of his primary crystal membrane shattered completely, causing a disruption in his resonance, his life pattern, an end effect which was his death.
What remained of his body was not worth mentioning. I was alone in Floatspace.
The masses of our race live in the shadow of the triangle – Trigonometry. Their God is the Great Lord Isosceles Triangle. His AAA is clear: 90, 45, 45; but the SSS? Seeking that measurement is their religion. I am a student of Crystallometry, the measure of repeating angles as found in perfect crystals. We Crystallometrists lie prostrate to the Series, Our Lord Repetition, Replication. Our religion is not the search for measure but for the Prime Mover, the Initiator – Gem One. Our origins are our future.
“I didn’t think you’d come.”
The resonant sound of (((**..**)) told me she was pleased to see me, although surprised; her surprise had no effect upon me, though. I was more interested in her structure. The way the electromagnetic waves shone through her clear crystalline stalks aroused me. Her crystalline form was a perfection of complex angles, a fractal map that deserved further study. I could almost experience Floatspace surrounding her. I replied, “I didn’t think I’d come either.”
She wastes no time in expressing her thoughts, chastising me. “No good can come of this.”
"That’s one theory,” I returned casually.
“You can still leave.” She remained very serious. “It may be your last chance to back out.”
Our proposition was very dangerous, but I would not be deterred. “Keep your fear for yourself.”
“It’s you I fear for,” she hummed from deep within her center-mass as she adjusted a connection on the device in front of her.
She was quite sincere; I tried to smile. “I’ll stay.”
“Are you sure this information is correct?” She sounded doubtful.
“These are coordinates I received from FloatCity,” I answered definitively.
“Not all data to come out of FloatCity is correct,” she contended.
She stared directly at me, pushing me, but I was confident. “This is.”
“Floatspace City pretends to operate like a computer – the language, the matrices, and so forth. But it’s not. Floatspace is nothing more than nonspace, unlocation – a convenient form of travel. Convergence is natural, FloatCity evolutionary.”
“Spare me your lectures,” I interjected. “I know the theories.”
“You can not trust FloatCity. It has its own motives –“
“It’s an arcology!” I struck back. “It’s a place to gather information, a library –“
“Capable of lying. It pretends.” She was unflinching.
“You’re paranoid,” I stated in an attempt to end the argument. “I have the information; Dominion is known to me. I’m prepared to act upon this information.”
With the religious debate ended, she was, hopefully, satisfied. She seemed to elongate, becoming slightly opaque, as she always did when she became serious. My people’s entire crystalline skin surface is light sensitive, giving us “sight” in a 360° range around our bodies. Being essentially translucent, modification of the electromagnetic rays (EMR) that pass through our bodies is our primary form of communication. In a sense, our emotions can be betrayed by the range of EMR we subconsciously allow to pass through ourselves. (((**..**)), or Derrida as I called her, was slightly opaque; she was concerned.
“Let’s begin,” she resumed.
"First, I should say …” I hesitated, uncertain of whether she would believe me. “I was pursued by the Apocalypse, Four Horsemen.”
“You escaped, obviously.” She stared at me, unfazed.
“Kafka is dead.” A tremor passed through me at the memory.
“I’m sorry.” Derrida had hardly known him, but she could see my anxiety.
“I thought you should know.” I watched her carefully.
“Of course,” she replied. Her EMR shifted rapidly. I could tell that she still loved me, although that connection had ended a long time ago. She asked me one last time, “Are you sure you want to do this?”
To merge with EM waves, to ride them, is to leave a part of your eternal self in Floatspace. Some, more religious and superstitious than I, believe that Floatspace is the aggregate of those splinters of men’s souls. Floatspace City, also called FloatCity, is an arcology, a living architecture created to capitalize on that aggregate of Floatspace, the sum total of all knowledge in the aggregate. Self-organizing, self-generating – a living entity. Floatspace and FloatCity are far older than my people’s cultural history. Travel through Floatspace is as old as recorded time. The Ancients used to consider FloatCity a god – or at least the shadow of a god. To me it is just another part of the universe, like suns, planets, crystals, … everything … bigger than we need to know. There is danger there as well – the Apocalype, hunters in Floatspace, killing for no logical reason but their own pleasure.
“These figures are meaningless,” Derrida said. “They aren’t coordinates of any kind. Just as I feared; FloatCity lied.”
“You’re too paranoid.” I could not believe we were back to the same argument all over again. “It can’t lie, not any more than a resonance signature can lie.”
“Why would it give you blatantly wrong figures? If it didn’t have some clue stored in its memory as to the whereabouts of Dominion then why would it output such nonsense.” Derrida became more transparent, her true feelings revealing themselves.
“Even if FloatCity isn’t sentient, whoever constructed it sill had their own motives. It will do whatever it was built to do, including output erroneous information when asked about Dominion – which would explain why no one else in a millennia has used FloatCity to pinpoint Dominion.”
“Look,” I tried to forestall a return to this debate, “you’re supposed to know numbers. Regress it, replicate it – maybe it’s a code of some kind. Maybe there’s a higher mathematical concept at work here.”
“I’ve already done some simple regressions and replications – nothing.” She held her crystalline stalks widely apart to emphasize her point. “‘”.”<<<<<1>>>>>”.”’; it’s nonsense.”
“You’re paranoid,” I told her once again, “you’re defeatist – you give up too easily.”
The pattern of Derrida’s EMR, revealed for only for a moment, would have been considered obscene by most. She immediately covered with a more dignified pattern, slightly embarrassed by her indiscretion. “Let’s try not to be personal about this. It’s not my fault that FloatCity gave you meaningless figures.”
I was tired of fighting. “You’re right; you’re right. I’m sorry.”
“Maybe …” she paused, a twinkle evident in her upper crystal.
“What?” I moved closer to her.
“Okay, this might work. This might not be higher math but older math. These symbols can be found on old maps.”
“How old?” I became cautiously optimistic.
“The oldest, like maps on the walls of ancient ruins and things like that, but the old symbols had different meanings.”
“How long for you to verify this?” I stood next to her, feeling the pulse of her resonance.
“I know someone with more knowledge about these sorts of things than me. He may be able to help.”
We immediately attempt to reach Derrida’s friend, (*(*)*), through the pseudo-receptor, a commonplace receiver found in most domiciles by which the EMR passing through our bodies can be sent to crystal receivers at another location and allow a communication as if both communicants are physically in the same room.
Dominion – nothing religious, nothing superstitious, simply this: the location of Crystal One – the Prime Mover. “.”<<<<<1>>>>>”.”
(*(*)*) had many blooms, crystalline shafts growing from his main body, indicative of both his age and his erudition. After observing the symbols from FloatCity, he noted that, “These symbols are very distinct. I saw them once myself, not on a common temple map but cleverly hidden in the patterns of a garment worn by a high priest. They looked like this:” He drew a picture of a four-sided diamond containing a second, smaller diamond and a third diamond within that. In the middle of this pattern was a foreign letter. “This is the symbol for ‘*’,” he stated. “Do you know what this letter means?”
“No, sir,” Derrida replied.
“This particular society,” he told us, “they, more than any others, worshipped FloatCity as a god. They thought its knowledge was pure and divine. We are talking about the oldest race in recorded history – the first of our kind to ever keep permanent records, including these maps. In their … hubris, if you will, they attempted to map Floatspace. Their god, FloatCity, lived in the center of the universe. His name was ‘*’.”
Later, as we conferred alone, Derrida paced the room. She was as opaque as I had ever seen her, and she was not amused by her old friend’s story. “Floatspace is non-location! It has no coordinates!”
“Our ancestors thought it did, “ I countered. “And now FloatCity is giving itself as the location of Dominion, speaking in math that is nearly four thousand years old.”
“Absurd. Utterly and totally absurd! ‘Could you give me direction to the nearest store, please?’” she mocked. “‘Oh, just up the pathway, around the vertex, and straight into the middle of nowhere,’ … No way.”
“I want to go there.” I would not be swayed. “Now.”
“Are you out of your mind? I’m not going to transfer you into the middle of nowhere – if that’s even possible.”
I started adjusting the controls myself. I didn’t need her help to transmit into Floatspace. Derrida went completely translucent, something which occasionally happens to a person when, due to great mental anguish or shock, they are incapable of communicating. After a short time she solidified. “You’re serious. You really want to go.”
“Alright, then; alright.” She looked briefly around the lab. “Let’s do an experiment first.”
“Like …” I grew tired of the delays.
“Let’s send off a transmitter first. We’ll transfer it to these coordinates and get an idea of what’s there.” She took my place setting the controls on the Matter Interference Device, and moments later the little bug was ready to go. Derrida engaged the MTD but, to our chagrin, the transmitter went nowhere, remaining in the same place at the center of the teleport pad.
I sighed, very disappointed. “Now what?”
“I almost thought it would work, too, for a minute there.”
“I guess FloatCity wasn’t lying,” I began to realize. “It just gave the only information it had. It’s not its fault that the data was millennia old.”
Derrida turned suddenly toward the receiving equipment. “Quiet. Listen.”
She was quiet as she approached the receivers. The EMR receiver was blank, but that was not what interested her. She quickly adjusted the volume controls, turning them to the maximum settings, and a faint clicking noise could be heard, coming through the speakers.
“How is that possible?” I asked. “The transmitter’s still right here. Is something in this room making that noise?”
“Off! Off! Turn everything off!” she yelled as she rushed around the room, toggling switches. When we had deactivated everything but the receiving equipment, we turned toward each other. The noise persisted.
“I don’t understand,” I hummed.
“ How does an MTD work?” she asked rhetorically, trying to work through the process to find a clue. “It condenses your body material to a subatomic size and sends it at the speed of light to a destination where you are reassembled.”
“But the bug didn’t go anywhere,” I said, stating what seemed obvious.
“It’s destination was somewhere in the center of FloatCity – in Floatspace.” She shimmered with excitement. “Traveling through a teleport requires time. There is no time or space, no relativity, in Floatspace. Travel is instantaneous.”
“So … the bug …”
“Went and came back already,” she said, as if it was readily apparent. “It didn’t take any time or space to reach its destination. A protective default in the teleporter, lacking a ‘real’ destination, probably reassembled the transmitter here, not even realizing that it had gone to its destination.”
“And these are the transmitter’s signals from Floatspace,” I commented as I began to fully understand.
The excitement had mounted as Derrida generated her answers, but she stopped suddenly, becoming frightened. “What do you suppose it is in Floatspace – which is non-space, unlocation – which makes clicking noises.”
I was ready to travel. I had a new transmitter with me as well as an Infraction Prism, a hand-held weapon capable of emitting a laser beam powerful enough to disrupt the balance of someone’s life pattern within seconds.
“I’ve been thinking,” Derrida said, “that we have been making the unsupported assumption that our ancestors’ name for their god, ‘*,’ is in fact Dominion … or that it is even FloatCity. We don’t really know where “.”<<<<<1>>>>>”.” is, or what it is, or anything …”
We do know one thing,” I reminded her. “We know it makes clicking noises.”
She sighed, not amused by my levity. “Are you ready? If I can continue to track you with your transmitter, I’ll beam you back in precisely fifteen seconds.”
“Make it thirty.”
“Listen,” she insisted, growing opaque, “this is just to see what’s what. If all goes well, you can make your longer sojourns later.”
“Okay, you’re right. Let’s just get going.”
Derrida went to the controls of the MTD and, making final adjustments, activated the machine. Unfortunately, I went nowhere. Instead, I was filled with immense pain, silicon oozing out all over my body from my veins. I howled wildly, realizing that my Infraction Prism was in my hand and, although I held the trigger down, it did not fire because all of the power had been drained. My primary crystal membrane was severely damaged so Derrida rushed me straight to the LatticWorks. I passed out on the way.
The technicians quickly stabilized me and left me for a few hours in a Growth Tank. Afterwards, in a Growth Chamber, as my final regeneration was taking place, Derrida and I had an opportunity to speak privately. We both had the same question: “What happened?”
Derrida told me what she had observed. “As soon as I activated the MTD, your wounds appeared … and the weapon, the IP, just … materialized in your hand. I figured that the MTD defaulted you just like it had with the transmitter before, and that you went and came back instantaneously. You obviously acquired these wounds there. What do you remember?”
“I … nothing. Really. The last thing I remember is telling you to hurry up and transmit me. Then I was brought here.”
“But clearly something happened to you there, something violent.” She was clearly concerned, her opacity shifting erratically.
“Do the technicians know what caused my wounds?” I touched a stalk, still soft in its reformation.
“They didn’t say. They were puzzled but not … confused. They weren’t alarmed or anything.”
“How about the transmitter,” I asked, hoping for some clue as to what had taken place. “There must be something coming over the speakers right now.”
“I didn’t get a chance to listen; I rushed here with you. If there is something, maybe I could pinpoint your location.”
“Derrida …” Purples came shooting through me, the color of fear. “I’m afraid. I’ve been somewhere and done something … something dangerous … but I don’t know what it is.”
Derrida was not paying attention to me as she rubbed her stalk across a spot on my shoulder. “You have a new bloom,” she noted. A tiny crystal could be seen where she had rubbed, a small new growth. Closer examination showed that it was a light red color, quite in contrast to the clear crystalline structures surrounding it. I tried to alter the color but it remained that reddish shade. “It’s on you,” Derrida observed, “but it’s not of you. It must be the result of your trip, some record or knowledge.”
“Why can’t I change it?” This fact distressed me more than my recent condition.
“I don’t know, but if I can get a piece of it under a microscope I might be able to decode data from its patterns.”
“Don’t do anything.” Derrida move away from the Growth Chamber where I lay. “I’m going back to check the transmissions. I’ll be back as soon as possible. Don’t let the technicians touch that bloom; don’t even tell them about it.” She turned and left the room before I could even respond.
Time passed and still Derrida did not return. After a while I finally gave in to sleep. I dreamed of a strong sense of location; I was in Floastspace, except that Floatspace was real and Reality was the un-location. All that I had ever known was a fantasy, a construction, nothing; Floatspace was the true existence.
I awoke to find myself surrounded by opaque forms: the police. There were three of them with a technician. They insisted upon asking me some questions, and I was confused.
“Were you the associate of (((**..**)))?” they asked.
“Yes,” I answered coldly, not pleased with waking to an interrogation. “What’s all this about?”
They disregarded my question, “Listen, did you work with her in her laboratory?”
“We were doing a project together,” I replied with growing frustration.
“What kind of project?” the officer continued.
“Look,” I emitted red, anger. “I’m not answering any more questions unless you tell me what’s going on.”
They obviously did not like being put into that position, but one of them said, “There was an explosion at her lab last night. She’s dead and all of her current research materials are gone, perhaps stolen.”
A rapid EMR shift indicates an emotional injury of some kind; I began shifting rapidly. After that I became transparent.
Another officer continued. “You were here all night, that’s been verified, so as of right now you’re not a suspect – but we need some information.”
“Of course,” I whispered.
“What was the nature of your research project?”
“We were attempting to map out areas of Floatspace,” I replied; it was a half-truth at best.
“What kind of information is involved in that work?” the third officer queried.
“Demographics, history, mostly mathematics, both modern and ancient.” I decided to keep my answers vague until I had a better idea of what had happened.
“Has anyone contacted you about your research?” the second officer added.
“No; no one.”
All three officers stood silently for a moment, still fully opaque. “You’re resting now, so we won’t take any more of your time, although we may be back later.” As they turned to leave, the first officer asked, “By the way, what was the state of your relationship?”
“It was strictly professional.” I glowed softly red.
“Our records indicate that at one time you and she were … romantically involved.”
“That … was in the past.” I replied stiffly. “It’s no longer relevant.
… that was in the past … no longer relevant … Derrida is dead, and a part of me is in agony, a part of me that is many years away, in the past and no longer relevant, a part of me that used to love her and is dead now, too … maybe not dead, but gone.
A few days later, I was released from the LatticeWorks. I went straight to the lab; any clue of what had happened to me was to be found there. The lab was closed off by police flares, but no one seemed to be patrolling the area, so I entered the building.
The walls of the lab had been burned away. Charred data files were scattered across the floor like common rubble. A retched scent filled the rooms, an odor I hoped wasn’t the smell of burned crystal. All of our notes were definitely gone. The equipment had also been destroyed, but likely only after all data from the memory banks had been removed. There was nothing here for me – no clues and no time, past, present or future. Whoever had done this had been thorough. But why? Where had I gone? Who wanted to know? They had struck here so quickly, only hours after my journey, that I was suddenly surprised that they had not yet revealed themselves to me.
A loud ‘thunk’ emanated from the next room. I was suddenly afraid all over again. I had spent my life not being afraid, being a soldier, actually. I had faced others in combat, and I had killed before, but now, after whatever had happened to me that I couldn’t remember, I was afraid of a ‘thunk’ing noise in the next room.
It was one of the three police officers, /<<>>\. “What are you doing here?” he asked.
“I used to work here. I was looking for some … remains of our research.”
“It’s all gone. Whoever destroyed this place left nothing behind.” He surveyed the room as he spoke.
“Do you know who did this?”
“No,” he paused, “but I’d be careful if I were you; very careful.” I hummed in affirmation. “Did she have any enemies?” he continued.
“How about you?”
“None,” I answered while listing, to myself, people from my past who might want me dead.
“Perhaps you should tell me, in a little more detail, about your research.”
“I don’t think so.”
“It might save your life,” he said, “and that’s what I’m here to do.”
I looked carefully at /<<>>\. He was strong and very tall, refracting light in a way that made children want to be cops when they grew up. I knew I was scared and that I had no friends, and I had little to loose. I decided to call him Camus. “Let’s get out of here,” I said.
We walked around a nearby park for an hour, following broad pathways around elaborate sculptures and statues. Large crystal fountains sprayed colored moisture, cooling down passers-by. I explained our project to Camus with as much detail as possible: looking for Dominion, going to FloatCity, the strange coordinates, the old maps, (*(*)*), the first transmitter, my journey, the LatticeWorks, and the new bloom. We sat quietly for a moment, taking in the sight of a setting sun and thinking to ourselves. The colorful spray continued to cool us, but the luminescent waters brought me no joy.
“Alright,” he said. “Let me get in touch with this (*(*)*) and see what he knows. I’ll meet you at your home in a little while and we can work from there.”
I had not expected him to leave so soon. “Will I be safe?” I asked.
“There’s an officer shadowing us now for your protection.” He directed my attention to a figure sitting at a nearby bench. “He’ll follow you home and make sure that you’re safe. He’ll also watch your house for you.”
I went home and ate, still weak from the combination of recent events; then I decided to sleep until Camus contacted me. In my sleep I saw Floatspace flying past me, faster and faster. I was being chased by a howling wind, flames extending from the fury with the smell of burning pasts. It was all drip, drip the color of drip, drip silicon drip, drip …
I awoke, silicon dripping from the ceiling. I was terrified to see that my protector, the officer who had been shadowing me for my safety, had been spiked to the ceiling over my bed. His silicon dripped from the open veins of his dead form, falling onto me drop by drop. One drop spattered the pink crystal on my shoulder and I looked more closely, seeing that the bloom was now more than double the length of when I had first discovered it in the LatticeWorks. I began screaming. The dead cop’s silicon dripped from the ceiling, striking every inch of my form, causing me to scream again and again.
My mind told me that an eternity had passed before Camus arrived. He came bursting into my room, concerned because of my screaming, and I continued to scream as he removed me from my home. Outside, a cool night air blew over my dripping body and I greeted it with a more controlled demeanor. I no longer screamed but my body trembled, the entire gamut of EMRs rushing through me violently. There was a great deal of purple.
“You can’t tell me,” Camus was saying, although I barely heard him, “that you didn’t realize that that man was being pierced into the ceiling above your bed.”
“I … I was asleep …”
“No. No! That’s not right! By all that’s hidden in Dominion, you can’t expect me to buy that. What’s going on?”
“I don’t know.”
/<<>>\ grasped me by the shoulders, shaking me. “What?” he screamed, his form inches from mine. “What do you mean, ‘you don’t know’?”
“I said I don’t know!” He shook me harder. “Stop!” As the pain began I instinctively swung my stalks upward, breaking his hold. Camus stepped back defensively, but I followed through quickly, pushing above his center mass and causing him to tumble. As he fell he reached his stalks out, grabbing me and pulling me down with him. He moved rapidly and, a moment later, he sat squarely on my center mass and slapped me once, hard.
He spoke evenly in a tight, harsh tone. “That officer is dead. (((**..**))) is dead. That professor of yours, (*(*)*) – he’s dead, too; he was crushed two days ago – all of his files on ancient mathematics gone. You barely survive to make it to the LatticeWorks. What is going on?
I wanted to say, “I don’t know,” but the answer was inside me; I did know; I must know. What happened to me in that non-moment in non-space was forgotten, unknowable. I wanted to tell him … I wanted to … but I couldn’t. I had no idea how to access that knowledge, and trying to understand was simply scaring me and making my mind ache.
The EMRs passing through Camus suddenly began to change. He fell over and shook, emitting patterns of alarm and pain. He tried to speak but could only throb; he tried to stand, but unable to control his form, he fell over on top of me, trembling like a modulated frequency. His EMRs changed to a blinding purple, the deepest fear I had ever seen, and I knew he was about to die. For a brief moment, before his form completely shattered, I thought I heard faint clicking noises, then Camus was dead.
By the time I had returned to my home, the red bloom on my shoulder had more than doubled in size once again. Now more than ten times the size when Derrida had first noticed it, the bloom was a deep red and had become warm, filling me with fever. In my room, I went immediately to my Infraction Prism, making sure that it was fully charged. With the weapon in hand, I sat and took a moment to think, the closeness of this small defense making me feel safe … at least in a relative sense.
I tried to review what I knew but quickly realized that what I knew was nothing. Camus had died before my very eyes and I did not have the slightest idea why – or how. Ever since my trip I had come to realize that I had no knowledge or control of … anything, really. There was the reddish crystal, though; that was something. Derrida had said that she might have been able to decode any information contained in the crystal’s patterns. This was a very common form of data storage, and indeed some people like (*(*)*) grew extra blooms as a way to contain some of their acquired knowledge.
I went from my home back to the lab. Nothing had changed since my visit earlier in the day. Since then there had been two deaths and the gem on my shoulder had doubled in length. Amongst the charred rubble I found a crystal microscope, an enhanced microscope used to study the geometry of crystals and output the data encoded therein. The trick would be getting a sample to study; it was considered dangerous to take crystalline samples from your own body. One slip and the laser might cut too deep or cut the wrong area altogether.
After a long, exhausting search, I found a laser scalpel among the ruins. I tried to extract the sample. The toughness of the crystal indicated the simplicity and purity of the rock – the more complex and impure a crystal is, the less stable and solid, the easier to break or crumble … or cut with a laser scalpel. It took a few attempts, but I finally extracted a sample.
With the sample under the microscope I could see that it was indeed very basic: repeating triangles. It was also pure hydrogen. I stared at the microscope’s readings. Hydrogen could not maintain a crystalline form at normal room temperatures, only at temperatures much, much colder. Here it was, however, growing off of my shoulder and growing fast.
I could think of nowhere that crystal hydrogen could be found outside of labs, so I queried the microscope’s computer to provide me with that information. It responded: “DOMINION.”
Minutes later I was prepared to enter Floatspace, destination FloatCity. If what had happened to me had occurred there, then FloatCity would know; it could tell me.
WARNING: APOCALYPSE: ONE. . . .TWO. . . .THREE. . . .FOUR:
Floatspace horizon, gleaming fast forward. Twilight at Floatspace City, a non-dimensional location, an entity-less consciousness, a matrix arcology.
I was overcome with a sense of place. I knew where I was; I was home. I could … sense the bloom on my shoulder growing, expanding and drawing in all around me; I was a generatrix. Here was FloatCity, in this place. I was in the presence of red light, pure and glowing. From it grew an infinite number of blooms, endless shafts, each growth seeming to extend forever in all directions, emitting all colors, pulsing and singing. Patterns extended everywhere, all things repeating themselves, like facets of a perfect matrix. I realized (or perhaps actualized) that this was location and what I had always known as Reality was un-location. The crystals were alive, as alive as any member of my race. They were knowledge, the aggregate of the splinters of all souls, of FloatCity, and of Crystal One.
Trees sway overhead, their branches a canopy. A cool breeze flows across me as I lay among the firmament, unmoving. From the first growth upon my shoulder had come another and another, each growth a different color until I was no more than a tiny seed to a large phantasmagorical display, and always continuing to grow. Their song was familiar to me, at night resembling clicking noises, as heard in the emptiness of space. I hum along. I do not breathe or eat or sleep. I am no longer alive but of the Earth, and I have long-since stopped growing, emerging as a new world, supporting a universe of my own.